There are things you can do as a homeowner to improve the efficiency of your HVAC system and create a lesser impact on the environment. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, taking actions to lower home cooling costs and switching to a high-efficiency air conditioner can help reduce air conditioning energy use by 20 to 50 percent.
The most effective way to keep cool on hot days while also keeping costs and energy usage low is to use ventilation. By opening up multiple windows in your home, a cross-wise breeze can be created from wind keeping you cool. Fans can be used in addition to opening windows in order to increase cooling. Another option for more effective ventilation is to have a professional install whole house fans. These types of fans pull fresh, cool air in through windows and push hot air to through openings in a home’s attic and roof.
There are many ways a home can be insulated in order to keep cooled or heated air. Attics, walls, and seal cracks and openings can be insulated with batts and blanketsmade of fiberglass, rockwool or cotton, loose-fill fiberglass or cellulose, structural insulated panels (SIPs) made of polystyrene or polyisocyanurate, or spray foammade of open-cell or closed-cell polyurethane.
In addition, ensure that your air ducts are sealed so that no air can leak out, wasting both money and energy. Be sure to seal windows and doors as well in order to prevent heated or cooled air from escaping. Energy-efficient window coverings can also be used to prevent heat from entering a home or to keep heat in during the night.